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Outside Scholarship Search Tips

  • Start your search early and be aware of deadlines.
  • Apply!! Apply for scholarships from a variety of sources.
  • You do not have to pay to apply for scholarships. While there are organizations that will perform a search for a fee, you can perform the same searches for free.
  • Search for scholarships offered through your parent's place of employment.
  • Check with your high school guidance counselor for scholarships offered through your high school.
  • Check your local civic, religious and community organizations for scholarship opportunities, such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Red Cross.
  • Search for scholarships offered through local and/or county community foundations, for example, Community Foundation of Gaston County.
  • Search for scholarships offered through companies that employ graduates in your area of academic interest, for example, IBM for computer science majors.
  • Small scholarships add up! Don't make the mistake of ignoring these opportunities.
  • Treat applying for scholarships as a job! A $1000 scholarship is equivalent to working 137 hours at minimum wage. That's worth taking the time to write a scholarship essay.
  • Search for scholarships that limit the pool of applicants by specific characteristics. For example, the US Bowling Congress awards scholarships to students who are bowling league members.
  • Utilize free scholarship search sites and book listings at your local library or bookstore. For example, FastWeb's free scholarship search includes more than 400,000 scholarships worth more than $1 billion.
  • NC residents can search for scholarships at North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.
  • Make sure you meet the scholarship criteria. Learn about the organization to ensure that you are a good candidate.
  • Evaluate your strengths. Students with clear ideas of their goals and talents find it easier to write meaningful essays. Make sure the reader of the essay has a clear understanding of who you are as a person.
  • Type your application. Edit, proofread, spell check and ask someone else to proofread your application.
  • Be organized about your search. Keep copies of all scholarship application materials. Make sure that you've sent all required transcripts, essays, forms, etc.